From Grünhainichen to Hollywood

Saving Mr. Banks

Back in October 2012, Walt Disney Studios contacted traditional manufactory Wendt & Kühn during their planning of a film about founder Walt Disney. Personal anecdotes from people close to Mr. Disney confirmed that he was a big fan of Wendt & Kühn figurines. Some figurines even decorated his office and they needed to be recreated for the film as originally as possible. A short time later, Wendt & Kühn sent the figurines off on their journey to America – a Blossom Child with Sunflower, a round Music Box, a ladybird, butterflies and a goose family. The production company couldn’t have been happier with the faithful reproductions – they were exact replicas of the figurines from the 1960s, the era in which the film is set. And sure enough: The Wendt & Kühn figurines can be seen in the background during scenes of Tom Hanks in the film producer’s reconstructed office. Noteworthy props to lend an authentic flair to the film. 

Letters written by Walt Disney’s recently deceased daughter Diane Disney Miller reveal that Walt Disney loved miniature figures and would always bring back quite a collection from his many journeys. He was evidently also fascinated by Wendt & Kühn’s tiny wooden figurines from distant Germany.
It’s conceivable they might have even inspired one of his legendary film characters.
At the personal request of Diane Disney Miller, Wendt & Kühn figurines have been available in the museum shop of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco since 2010.